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22 July 2008 : Column 1043W—continued


22 July 2008 : Column 1044W

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government plan to take to reduce the number of serious car accidents at the Catthorpe junction on the M6. [219982]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency (HA) has already completed a number of interim measures to improve safety at this junction.

In March 2007, the hard shoulder of the M6 to M1 slip-road was converted to a running lane. Additional signs were installed on the M6 to give advance warning to motorists of queuing traffic and yellow box markings and ‘merge in turn’ signs were installed at the junction itself, to help regulate traffic movements.

Currently the HA is investigating significant further measures for longer term improvement, and a number of options are currently under public consultation. Subject to the necessary statutory processes being completed and the availability of funding, work could start in summer 2011.

Motorways

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average cost per mile of widening motorway carriageways by one lane was in each of the last 10 years. [220722]

Mr. Tom Harris: The following table lists the average cost per mile at 2008 prices of widening existing motorways by one lane, provided by publicly funded major schemes, for each of the last 10 years.

Number of projects Cost per lane mile in 2008 prices (£ million)

1998-99

0

0.0

1999-2000

0

0.0

2000-01

0

0.0

2001-02

1

63.5

2002-03

0

0.0

2003-04

1

24.8

2004-05

1

4.0

2005-06

3

12.0

2006-07

3

10.3

2007-08

1

5.5


Railway Network

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the budget of her Department's Rail Group was in each of the last five years. [221230]

Mr. Tom Harris: Government expenditure on rail between 2002-03 and 2007-08 along with spending plans for 2008-09 and 2009-10 is set out the Department for Transport annual report. A copy of the relevant table is reproduced as follows:


22 July 2008 : Column 1045W

22 July 2008 : Column 1046W
Outturn Estimated outturn Plans

2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09( 1) 2009-10( 1)

Net Direct Support for Passenger Rail Services

738

930

(2)1,225

878

813

847

684

449

(250)

Grants to PTEs

214

245

294

277

199

313

310

323

329

Direct Grants to Network Rail

499

(3)792

1,448

2,058

1,984

(4)3,103

3,154

3,224

3,066

CTRL Grants

342

1,362

1,295

312

385

102

154

88

90

Freight Grants(5)

57

49

32

26

5

0

0

0

0

Other(6)

273

390

394

296

104

84

72

74

76

Total

2,134

3,768

4,688

3,847

3,490

4,449

4,374

4,158

3,311

(1) Total expenditure and the mix between support for passenger rail services and direct grants to Network Rail may be subject to revision as part of the regulatory review into Network Rail's income which is currently being conducted by the Office of Rail Regulation. (2) Figure includes £700 million paid directly to train operating companies that was subsequently deemed to be in respect of capital investment undertaken by Network Rail. (3) Figure includes a grant payment of £300 million to Network Rail to facilitate the purchase of Railtrack. (4) From 2006-07 onwards responsibility for paying grants to Network Rail for the rail network in Scotland has been transferred to Scottish Ministers. Spending plans in this table from 2006-07 onwards are in respect of the English and Welsh elements of the railway. (5) Responsibility for the payment of Freight Grants transferred from the SRA to Logistics Division in DfT on 26 June 2005. The figure in this table shows spending by the SRA prior to that transfer. (6) Figures include payments in respect of rail industry pensions, external costs in connection with specifying and procuring rail franchises and in managing rail projects and payments to the British Transport Police, the Rail Passengers Council, the Rail Heritage Committee and British Rail (Residuary) Ltd. Note: Prior to 2004-05 expenditure relates to spending by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and the Department for Transport. During 2005-06 the functions and spending of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) were progressively transferred to the Department for Transport in accordance with the Railways Act 2005. This table represents the combined spending of the SRA and its predecessor bodies, the DfT Rail Directorate prior to the relevant parts of the Railways Act being commenced and the new DfT Rail Group. From 2006-07 onwards figures show planned spending by DfT.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the staffing costs of her Department's Rail Group were in each of the last five years. [221434]

Mr. Tom Harris: Prior to 2004-05 the vast majority of public sector staff costs in connection with the railway were expended by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). During 2005-06 the functions of the SRA were progressively transferred to the Department for Transport's Rail Group. The following figures show staff costs of the Rail Group following the transfer of those functions.

£ million

2007-08

21.4

2006-07

17.2

2005-06

11.7


Railway Network: Manpower

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time equivalent members of staff (a) her Department and (b) public bodies her Department is responsible for employ on tasks related to the railway; how many of those work on (i) project management, (ii) project oversight and (iii) financial oversight; and what plans she has for future staffing. [221515]

Mr. Tom Harris: The National Networks Group have 336 full-time equivalent members of staff; of this number, 70 are employed in project management and project oversight and 58 are employed on financial oversight. Plans for future staffing will be agreed in next year’s round of business planning beginning October 2008.

Road Signs and Markings: Tourism

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans she has to review provisions for signage to tourist attractions on major highways; [218196]

(2) if she will consider introducing special highway signage to indicate UK World Heritage sites. [218198]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no plans to review national policy for signing to tourist attractions on major highways. The Department is, however, currently considering the scope of its planned general review of traffic signs policy.

There is a range of prescribed signs to tourist destinations including places of architectural or historical interest, and sporting and leisure facilities. It is also open to highway authorities to apply for authorisation to place non-prescribed tourist signs on the public highway. Any such applications are considered strictly on a case-by-case basis; and every effort is made to accommodate the needs of tourist industry stakeholders while ensuring that safety and traffic management needs are not compromised.

Roads: Noise

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance she gives to local authorities on the use of low-noise road surfaces. [221494]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 2 July 2008, Official Report, column 926W.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency received for the maintenance of trunk roads in the last year for which figures are available. [221498]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency received an allocation of £896 million in 2008-09 for maintenance of the Strategic Road Network.

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much local authorities received for the maintenance of principal roads in the last year for which figures are available. [221499]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department provides capital funding for highways maintenance to English local authorities (outside London) through the Local Transport Plan settlement. For the year 2007-08 £682.983 million was provided. In November 2007, I announced funding
22 July 2008 : Column 1047W
of £703.209 million for 2008-09; £755.617 million for 2009-10; and £808.617 million for 2010-11. Local authorities can also use Revenue Support Grant provided by CLG. Neither funding is ring-fenced, and sums are not separately identified for different classes of road. The management of local roads is a matter for each local highway authority, based upon their local priorities. Funding for highways in London is a matter for the Mayor.

Transport: Costs

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the percentage change in real terms of the cost of travelling by (a) private car, (b) bus and (c) train since (i) 1979 and (ii) 1997; and what estimate she has made of the proportion of average disposable income represented by such costs in each case in each year. [209983]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 10 June 2008]: The following table shows the percentage change in real terms of the cost of travelling by car, bus and train since 1979 and 1997 compared to 2007 in the UK.

Percentage

(i) 1979 to 2007 (ii) 1997 to 2007

(a) Private car

-10

-8

(b) Bus

+49

+13

(c) Train

+44

+5

Source:
Retail Price Index (Annual)—Office for National Statistics

The changes are against a background of an increase in disposable income of 105 per cent. between 1979 and 2007 and 27 per cent. between 1997 and 2007. The decline in the real-term cost of travelling by car reflects the significant impact of the decline in real-terms cost of purchasing a vehicle.

While the cost of motoring has fallen in real terms, the overall UK expenditure on motoring has increased over this period as, the estimated number of cars per household has increased from 0.75 in 1979, to 1.02 in 1997 and 1.15 in 2006.

According to the available data from the Expenditure and Food Survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics, motoring costs were 10 per cent. of household disposable income in 1978, 14 per cent. in 1997-98 and 12 per cent. in 2006.

Fares and other travel costs were 3 per cent. of household disposable income in 1978, 2 per cent. in 1997-98 and 2 per cent. in 2006.


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